Sunday, January 20, 2008

Organic vs. Mechanistic Thinking

Somewhere a deeply religious girl who belonged at one time to a Catholic youth organization, heard the Marian song "Beautiful and Magnificent Lady, I want to give you all I have, my life and blood as well." She felt she could never sing such a song, for she could only abandon herself to God, not to people, and consequently, not to our Lady either.

True surrender to the Blessed Virgin is unaquainted with this mechanistic thinking., and does not seperate her, the secondary cause, from the first cause, God. It is obvious that, seperated from God, a creature can not arouse my total surrender. If I give myself to Our Lady, or another creature, I can only do so in the context of their relatedness to God.

In this connection I remind you of little St. Therese. She was crazy about her father because, enraptured, she beheld in the image of her father the image of God. Precisely in giving herself to her natural father, she gave herself in organic totality to Father God.

The above mentioned girl went on with her complaint, "I cannot pray the prayer My Queen, my Mother. I can only give myself totally to God. Again, this way of looking at things is a fruit of mechanistic thinking*.

Those who overlook the subordinate regions of the secondary causes and of the want to fly directly to the final cause, harm not only the organism of sound life. In the course of time they also deprive themselves of what secures access to the higher order. If I give myself directly and exclusively to the spiritual God, I must fear that sooner or later the thought of God will evaporate to such an extent that, in the end, I may even be straining after a certain godlessness. If the thought of God is not filled with life, it does not create life. Since God made the subordinate regions a certain doorway to the superior regions, we have to say a firm yes, to the wishes, to the orders of God.

... Fr. Kentenich gives further examples of the mechanistic thinking afflicting those within the Church, priests etc ...

Aren't such things crimes committed against our people? We tear everything apart and are surprised that a religious surge of life is no longer possible. The subordinate regions are not only a certain preperation but also a lasting protection for the superior regions ... These are serious matters! We tear life to shreds and then complain that our people are not receptive anymore to religious values. We have become religious intellectualists and cannot overcome mechanistic thinking. Our people do not have that problem, but we do, and we make it a problem. We misuse our authority and make the sound thinking of our people unsound. We waste time and stifle life. Isn't it time to find our way back to organic thinking, living and loving?

Excerpts from "Forming the New Person" pp. 52-58. Printed by Schoenstatt Editions 2003. Translated from the German by Milagros Vega. Edited and reviewed by Jonathan Neihaus.

*Mechanistic thinking- earlier in the chapter Fr. Kentenich begins to define mechanistic thinking. "What is mechanistic thinking? It is neither organic or sound because it splits human nature. It seperated the mind, will, and heart from eachother. Sound thinking is organic, symbolic, centered, and integral ... All mechanistic thinking is abnormal, unsound thinking ... With a view to the subject, the bearer of the intellectual faculty, we speak of seperatistic thinking when the mind breaks away from the will and the heart... As regards the object what is the effect of this mechanistic thinking. It seperates ideas from life, the first cause from secondary causes, and life processes in their relation to each other."

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